Social distancing in Lassen National Forest

Another day of isolation and lock-down during Covid-19, Hardly! We have been so blessed to live in rural Butte County. Close to back roads and beautiful escapes. Heading north from Chico on Highway 32, we are quickly above the valley floor surrounded by forests. Some burn areas are being logged, but in other places we look out into deep canyons and over tree-lined ridge tops. More than once we pull over to allow others to pass. They are driving at breakneck speeds to get – well, to get somewhere. We are in no hurry and happy to be a speck in their rearview mirrors.

Locating the perfect stream-side picnic spot requires diligence. And, in these days of social distancing, passing more than one possibility because others beat us to the finish line.

Perseverance pays off and we find our oasis in Tehama County‘s Lassen National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service’s Elam Campground is gated and all amenities are locked. Other vehicles parked outside and occupants proceeded onto trails. We parked in a roadside lot and followed a short trail outside of the campground to our alfresco lunch spot along Elam Creek.

Flashes of black as Raven swooping above and beyond greets us graciously – the welcome mat is out! The gentle flow of water riffling just above our vantage point. A giant bumblebee falls headfirst into our basket exploring the contents. Perhaps the smell of fresh apple and pistachio butter was too much to resist. We delight in the butterflies dancing on the sand and a breeze so delicious and sweet imagining the bumblebee was tasting that too.

Feet at rest on a river rock ottoman. The heart and rhythm of the planet beating around us. Wild lilacs. Forget-me-nots. Surely, we won’t.

Painted Lady Elam Creek. Photo: Mike Nellor
Share this story
Barbara Steinberg

Barbara Steinberg

Barbara Steinberg is a freelance travel writer and omni-local. Recognized as a California travel authority, she’s been exploring and writing about the Golden State for more than 30 years. She is everywhere you want to be in California – off road and on, urban and rural, 5-star resorts and hidden hot springs, gourmet or dive, but never happier than when she's exploring back roads. Barbara has been a member of California Watchable Wildlife for more than 25 years and serves as their Outreach Coordinator representing the organization at wildlife and nature festivals throughout the state. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Sacramento with a BA in Communications Studies. She is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of California and California Roundtable on Recreation Parks & Tourism and Subaru Ambassador.



2022 Spring Conference
Big Bear Lake

Spring 2022

2022 Excellence in Craft Awards

EIC 2022

2022 Student Awards

Students 2022

Not yet a member?

Read about membership benefits.
Learn how we work together to educate and encourage people to enjoy the outdoors.

Subscribe to OWAC Outdoors

OWAC's bi-monthly newsletter

Members Only

Submit a Post.

OWAC Facebook Feed

Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for the latest outdoor news. 

Write to us

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.